Skip to main content

Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

See other formats

ALEXANDER  VON  HUMBOLDT.                  75
he knew would have followed Baudin.
many intelligent persons in Cuba opposed this plan,
and referred particularly to the uncertainty and de-
ception of newspaper accounts, they had no influence
over Humboldt, who, impressed with the idea of his
promise, and inspired by the hope of exploring the
physically so remarkable and rich Spanish possessions,,
for fifty years inaccessible to every stranger, remained
faithful to his pxxrpose. He had, from the first, made
it the chief aim of his voyage to complete the most
important hitherto neglected investigations of the*
earth ^and its nature, and to bring about a really
scientific natural philosophy of our globe.
With this truly inquiring mind for science, he hired
a bark on the qxiay of Batabano, with which he pro-
posed to go to Porto Oabello, or Carthagena, with a
favourable wind.    With this hope he went with Bon-
pland to Batabano on the 6th March, 1801, arrived
on the 8th March, at what was at that time only a
miserable marshy  village, and steered thence south
along the island of Cuba, but at the same time exa-
mined several points of the coast and the neighbouring
islands, and determined astronomically their geogra-
phies position.    Ho had calculated that this voyage
would  only  occupy about  a fortnight, but it lasted
nearly four weeks, as contrary winds detained them,,
and the ship, driven too far west by the storm, had to
land   at  the   Hio   Sinu,  on* the continent of South
America.    Hero no botanist had ever examined the
vegetable kingdom,   and   Humboldt  and  Bonpland
found an acceptable task until the 27th March, when
the ship started  again.    Its owner, however., did not,
accede to Humboldt* s request to land in Columbia, OIL
account of the wild region in which they were.    The.
ravage  state  had been shown on their first landing ;
for when Humboldt and Bonpland rowed to the river
shore with the intention of botanising in the moon-
light, they would have fallen into  an  ambuscade of
naked men, armed and laden with chains being pro-
bably criminals broken loose, if they had not -retreated
iix time and with caution to the ship.